Updated on 

April 29, 2022

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Trivex Eyeglass Lenses

What Are Trivex Eyeglass Lenses?

In 2001, PPG Industries created a new purpose for a breakthrough plastic technology called Trivex. This urethane-based pre-polymer substance has three primary benefits for eyeglass lenses.

These are: 

  • Exceptional visual clarity
  • High-performance strength
  • Ultra-lightweight comfort

While other types of lens material like polycarbonate, high-index, and glass exist, Trivex has proven to be an excellent choice for optical lenses. 

In the United States, the use of Trivex as glasses material has grown in popularity. Lenses made from Trivex material fulfill the same safety standards as those made from polycarbonate.

However, because of Trivex’s manufacturing process, plastic lenses sporting Trivex material do not distort vision as much.

Trivex Lens Material vs. Polycarbonate Lenses

Polycarbonate and Trivex are common lens types used for children’s eyewear, safety glasses, and sports eyewear. Opticians recommend these types of plastics because of their UV protection and high-impact resistance. 

Both polycarbonate and Trivex are lightweight. This particular characteristic works well with rimless frames or drill mount eyewear. 

But there are differences that can make Trivex a preferable option.

Prescription glasses with lenses made from Trivex have a high Abbe value of 43 to 45. Polycarbonate, however, has an Abbe value of 30.

Higher Abbe value

The Abbe value is important because it measures chromatic aberration (light dispersed through a lens into its color elements). Depending on the degree of chromatic aberration, images viewed through eyewear may appear more or less distorted. 

The higher the Abbe value, the lower the chromatic aberration and the higher the likelihood of visual clarity. Trivex, when compared to polycarbonate, works better.

Chemical resistance

Trivex is also much more resistant to chemicals than polycarbonate.

Trivex has been shown to be resistant to household products like bleach, salt water, window glass cleaner, sun tan cream, and nail polish remover. 

Lighter and less dense

Lastly, Trivex has a lower specific gravity (1.11) to that of polycarbonate (1.66).

Specific gravity describes the ratio of density of any given material to that of a reference substance. In effect, a lower value means that it is less dense, i.e. more lightweight. 

Trivex is one of the lightest materials used for lenses. 

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Advantages of Trivex Lenses

Due to its composition and design, Trivex lenses offers many benefits, including:

High impact resistance

This particular feature promises safety and minimizes the risk of injury among those who have active lifestyles. 

Lightweight comfort

Trivex has a lower density ratio than other standard plastics, making this substance one of the lighter materials used for lenses.

For older people, lenses with this characteristic can be extremely important. When the skin on the bridge of the nose becomes finer and more sensitive, lightweight eyewear can decrease the likelihood of irritation.  

Thinness

With aspheric and atoric lens designs (flatter lens curves), Trivex enhances comfort because it has a slimmer profile. 

Scratch protection

Those who want to avoid scratches on their eyewear can ask for an anti-scratch coating on this type of plastic material.  

Optical clarity

Trivex has a high Abbe value that offers clean, sharp vision. This can be more important for those whose prescription powers are stronger but who don’t want to sacrifice visual clarity. 

Wider, more natural vision

Aspheric and atoric lens designs reduce unwanted magnification and minification (objects appear smaller) found in more traditional eyewear. These types of design also increase the peripheral view by getting rid of distortion.  

UV protection

Lenses made from Trivex provide 100% UV protection from both UV-A and UV-B radiation. 

No internal stress

Unlike most polycarbonate lenses, Trivex lenses are internally stress-free. This means that such lenses have a lower chance of breaking when under pressure, like from thick frames.  

Shape retention

Lenses and mounting components flex over time when you wears a rimless mounting. This can lead to loose lenses and the need for replacements. However, because Trivex material is durable and strong, the shape does not change.   

Chemical resistance

Trivex is resistant to many chemicals, including acetone. It performs better in chemical resistance than some of its other competitors. 

Finally, Trivex can undergo many surface treatments, including anti-reflective, hard coatings, and tinting. This aspect makes Trivex an excellent option for sunglasses, too. Photochromic lenses are available in Trivex as well.

Disadvantages of Trivex Lenses 

Although Trivex lenses provide an almost endless list of advantages, there are some downsides. These disadvantages are as follows:

Less availability

Polycarbonate is more common in different lens designs than Trivex. 

Not enough thinness

Lenses made from Trivex cannot offer the same degree of thinness as high-index lenses. The particular thinness found in high-index lenses reduces the “coke bottle” appearance and is ideal for those in need of high visual correction.

High costs

Trivex outperforms many other lens material alternatives. However, it can come at a cost. Between coatings and type of eyewear, Trivex lenses can become expensive.

How Much Do Trivex Lenses Cost?

More than a decade has passed since the introduction of Trivex into the optical market. This means that the product is more common and costs have gone down slightly. 

Yet, because Trivex lenses have many strong attributes, costs can range between 200 and 400 dollars. Factors that may influence the final price are:

Single vision or progressive lenses

Progressive lenses can increase the price, because they offer a more gradual modification in lens strength for clearer vision at any distance. 

Additional coatings

Anti-scratch or anti-reflective coatings can raise costs as well. Fortunately, because Trivex has inherent UV protection, there is no need to pay for a UV coating.  

Different mounting frames

Rimless frames tend to be more expensive than full-frame glasses.

If you’re considering purchasing new eyewear and are interested in Trivex, speak to your eye care specialist for additional information.

Trivex Lens FAQs

What is Trivex?

Trivex is a urethane-based pre-polymer substance developed by PPG Industries for use in eyeglasses. It was designed to provide exceptional optical clarity, high-performance strength, and ultra-lightweight comfort.

Do I need Trivex lenses?

There are no refractive errors that make you need Trivex lenses. However, they are a great option for people who need safety lenses or who live active lifestyles. This is because they offer 100 percent protection from UV rays, sharper central vision, and sharper peripheral vision.

Do Trivex lenses scratch easily?

No, Trivex lenses are scratch-resistant. They can also be coated in additional anti-scratch coating for increased protection.

Are Trivex lenses better than polycarbonate?

Trivex lenses are slightly lighter, have a higher tensile strength, and may produce sharper central vision and peripheral vision due to their higher Abbe value and lower internal stress. However, Trivex is slightly thicker, less widely available, and usually costs more than polycarbonate.

Is Trivex more expensive than polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate lenses have been around longer and are more widely available. Trivex lenses often cost more than polycarbonate, though the prices vary widely for both.

Is Trivex better than high index?

High index plastic is thinner and more lightweight, and usually have more options in terms of lens colors and sizes. Trivex is slightly more optically clear and impact resistant than high index.

Are Trivex lenses worth it?

Trivex lenses are an excellent choice if safety is an issue or you lead an active lifestyle.

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4 Cited Research Articles
  1. “How to Choose Eyeglasses for Vision Correction.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 27 June 2020, www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/glasses.
  2. “How to Get the Best Eyeglass Lenses.” Consumer Reports, 2016, www.consumerreports.org/eyeglass-stores/how-to-get-the-best-eyeglass-lenses/.
  3. “Optical Monomers and Coatings.” PPG Optical Products, www.ppgoptical.com/Optical-Materials/Trivex-lens-material.aspx.
  4. PPG Optical Materials. “Trivex User's Guide.” 2006.
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Anthony Armenta earned his B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Irvine. After graduation, he decided to live abroad in Spain. Currently, he has spent the past 5 years working as a freelance health content writer and medical editor for different public hospitals in central Barcelona. He has covered different medical specialties from infectious diseases and pneumology to breast cancer and plastic surgery. His commitment to writing fact-driven, health-related content stems from the belief that such type of information can empower all individuals to take action and improve their health today.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/anthony/
Author: Anthony Armenta  | UPDATED April 29, 2022
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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